Physiotherapy Summer Appeal 2021

Meet Teresa. She worked as an Executive Assistant to the Chair and Chief Executive of a large national umbrella charity in north London.

One day a few years ago she left the office as usual to go and babysit her grandchildren in east London. They had a lovely evening together and when Teresa went to bed that evening she was feeling fine. However, she woke the next morning feeling strange. She called for her daughter to help her down the stairs, but within ten minutes she couldn’t stand or move her legs. She thought she’d had a stroke. Her daughter called for an ambulance, which came within eight minutes and they took her to Whipps Cross Hospital. Within 48 hours she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and was completely paralysed from the neck down.

During her time in acute care Teresa had to be resuscitated twice, she had a temporary pacemaker fitted, her left lung collapsed, she was on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and had a tracheotomy fitted to help with her breathing.

After many weeks at Whipps Cross, Teresa was finally able to speak again, and after four months she was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) for a programme of rehabilitation, including an intensive course of physiotherapy. As Teresa recalls,

“When I came to the RHN, that’s when my journey really began. When I arrived I had hardly been out of bed for four months. I couldn’t move my legs or arms. I couldn’t stand. Now five months later, I am walking with a Zimmer frame and sometimes, a walking stick. This is all due to the fantastic skills of the physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They really are first class. Before my illness happened to me I would drive past the RHN and not give a thought to what went on inside. How my eyes have been opened.”

In 2019 we created a brand new Therapy Hub to support patients receiving intensive rehabilitation support, like Teresa. The facility provides two gymnasiums equipped with state of the art physiotherapy equipment, to help patients on their road to recovery.

Our team of physiotherapists work alongside other members of the multi-disciplinary team to address the physical abilities of each patient, reduce the risk of secondary complications, and maintain and enhance their function and quality of life. This includes assessing patients’ initial abilities and postural needs and creating bespoke management plans to build on these abilities, helping patients to increase muscle power and joint range. This holistic support improves long-term health and enables patients to achieve greater independence and wellbeing. For example, with greater mobility patients can walk unaided, dress and wash themselves independently and use a computer. They can also take part in leisure activities more easily, such as sport.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a greater number of patients requiring physiotherapy to recover from this terrible disease, so even though our Therapy Hub is only two years old, we urgently need to increase the range of equipment available for patients to use. This is why we’re launching our 2021 Let’s Get Moving! appeal, to raise £20,000 towards a range of new physiotherapy and gym equipment, including specialist rehabilitation exercise bikes, electronic standing frames and sets of practice stairs.

Your support could help a patient like Teresa recover from serious, life-changing illness; to be able to stand and walk unaided again, and undertake daily routine tasks like eating, washing and dressing. Ultimately, we hope that patients will be able to return to work or their family home.

A donation from you to support our 2021 Let’s Get Moving! appeal could make that hope a reality, so please consider supporting an RHN patient on their road to recovery from serious illness. Whatever you can afford will make a huge difference to every person we care for.